A bairro (lit. quarter, Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈbajʁu]) is
a community or region within a city or town of Brazil, Mozambique,
Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries or
territories. Regions referred to as bairros exist in most major
Brazilian cities. Related English words include: "neighborhood" or
"district" and "borough" or "subdivision". "Bairro" as a Portuguese
word is cognate with Germanic berg, burg, borg, burgh, borough (etc.)
and Spanish barrio, all of which descend from the same Proto-Indo
In Brazil, the word is frequently applied to urban areas in cities, in
which the bairros are generally defined only unofficially and have
rough borders, without any official administrative function. In some
cities, however, the bairros have defined territorial limits set by
the municipal government, but most follow popular definition by its
In Portugal, the word is used with the same meaning as in Brazil,
defining a non administrative urban area, frequently without clear
borders, an example being the
Bairro Alto in Lisbon. Occasionally, a
Portuguese bairro can coincide with an administrative freguesia (civil
parish). In the past, the cities of
Lisbon and Porto were divided in
large administrative divisions - each encompassing several freguesias
- which were also named bairros.
In Mozambique, bairros are administrative subdivisions of urban
districts with important functions in the identification of the
residents and determine the attributes of the area in regard to
construction or agriculture, much like zoning. They are directed by
In Guinea-Bissau, bairros are first of all the peri-urban quarters of
the capital Bissau beyond the old city centre (Praça), e.g.
Bairro Militar, Pessak, Quelele, Luanda, Mpantcha, and by
extension quarters of smaller towns throughout the country.
Bairro Alto in Lisbon.
Portuguese terms for country subdivisions
Historical subdivisions in italics.
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